Report: Anzhi Could Provide Fernando Torres Escape Route From Chelsea

Fernando Torres, Sascha RietherFernando Torres has one last chance to succeed at Chelsea FC. Failure could land him in a war-torn region of Russia.

Anzhi Makhachkala is interested in signing Torres — either in January or next summer. Such a move is not out of the question, as Anzhi is one of few clubs in world soccer that can afford the Spanish striker, according to the Mirror.

“Anzhi Makhachkala are pushing to take the Spanish striker out of the Premier League pressure cooker,” the report says. “And the mega-rich Russians are the only club willing to pay Chelsea a fee that comes anywhere close to the £50 million [$80 million] they paid Liverpool for him.

“The Russians will not be able to promise him Champions League football — but they hope that the massive wages they can offer will turn his head.”

Torres continues to struggle at Chelsea nearly two years after making a record transfer from Liverpool to Stamford Bridge. Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto di Matteo have tried and failed to restore the 28-year-old to his pre-transfer form. Rafa Benitez is the fourth manager to undertake the Torres project, and Chelsea could be ready to give up on the player it signed for a British record fee on Jan. 31, 2011.

Benitez, who managed Liverpool during Torres’ best period, was hired last month to revive Chelsea’s stalling season. Many assume that he’ll be able to end Torres’ woes as well, but his contract expires at the end of the season, and it could take more time to get Torres firing again.

Recent speculation has linked Torres with a return to Spain (perhaps with former club Atletico Madrid) or a move to a club in another one of Europe’s major leagues.

Anzhi is leading the Russian Premier League after 18 games. It will likely qualify for next season’s UEA Champions League, but current manager Guus Hiddink is stepping down at the end of this season. His close ties with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich may not be enough to lure Torres to the capital of Dagestan — the conflict zone in which Anzhi plays its home games.

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